Welcome to the world, cheeky monkeys!
Gracing the world with their teeny tiny faces at Chester Zoo, a pair of pygmy marmosets have arrived – measuring just a tiny five centimetres each! Born to proud parents Zoe and Baldrick, the monkeys are part of one of the world’s smallest species of monkey, with adults growing to just 12-16cm long.
Threatened by habitat loss and often exposed to hunting or their capture for the illegal pet trade, the monkeys are part of Chester Zoo’s huge conservation project – which helps to prevent extinction with endangered species from around the world.
Speaking of the birth, Holly Webb, a Primate Keeper at Chester Zoo, said: “It’s wonderful to see new additions within the marmoset family and it’s almost unbelievable just how small the babies are when they are first born. They are no bigger than a ping pong ball!
“Mum Zoe and dad Baldrick have jumped straight into parenthood. Zoe is ever so caring and, unlike other primates, dad is heavily involved in the upbringing of the youngsters. Baldrick sensed that Zoe was ready to give birth and even put on a little extra weight to give him the energy to care for the twins. He’s really got stuck into the parenting – we spotted him carrying the babies around on his back when they were just one day old.
“New babies always strengthen family bonds and some of the younger primates in the group have also been carrying the new arrivals around. It’s great to see them learn and pick up parenting tips from Zoe and Baldrick, and that experience will be important if they one day go on to have young of their own. The fact that younger members of the family are trusted to carry around such delicate new-borns, builds a lot of trust within the group.
“The babies are already very inquisitive and aware of their surroundings. I can’t wait to see them develop their own little personalities.”
Dr Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at the zoo, added: “Despite their tiny stature, pygmy marmosets make a lot of loud noises, especially when calling out to attract a mate or warning others of danger. Even though they are the world’s most miniature species of monkey, their whistles and squeals can be heard throughout the rainforest.
“Unfortunately, as their forest homes continue to disappear, this can be to their detriment, as a lack of cover leaves them even more exposed to illegal hunters and trappers. Thankfully, conservation teams are working hard to restore forest and create safe areas while new arrivals at the zoo help us to further highlight what needs to be done to prevent their extinction.”